Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Book Review: "The Race for Paris" by Meg Waite Clayton

The Race For Paris Meg Waite Clayton
Published: August 11, 2015
ISBN: 9780062354631
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours

You might enjoy this book if you like: World War II history, love triangles, history of journalism, photography, strong female characters

Normandy, 1944. To cover the fighting in France, Jane, a reporter for the Nashville Banner, and Liv, an Associated Press photographer, have already had to endure enormous danger and frustrating obstacles—including strict military regulations limiting what women correspondents can do. Even so, Liv wants more. 

Encouraged by her husband, the editor of a New York newspaper, she’s determined to be the first photographer to reach Paris with the Allies, and capture its freedom from the Nazis.

However, her Commanding Officer has other ideas about the role of women in the press corps. To fulfill her ambitions, Liv must go AWOL. She persuades Jane to join her, and the two women find a guardian angel in Fletcher, a British military photographer who reluctantly agrees to escort them. As they race for Paris across the perilous French countryside, Liv, Jane, and Fletcher forge an indelible emotional bond that will transform them and reverberate long after the war is over. 

My Thoughts: 
I think everyone just needs to agree with this fact: you can never have too much WWII Historical Fiction.  I'm sure that there are readers, somewhere, who reading nothing but WWII Historical Fiction and they are never lacking for material.  Even if you aren't one of those readers, this is definitely a book to consider.

This is a fast paced book--although one could probably guess that just from the title.  The plot is constantly moving as the action moves through Europe.  Yet, among all this, Clayton is still able to successfully develop the three main characters.  The story is told in first person, from Jane's point of view, which I found interesting choice given the circumstance.  While she tells the story, she more of an observer than an active participant.  Liv is clearly the center of this book.  She is the one who wants to make it to Paris and she is the one who has the most to prove by doing so.  Jane and Fletcher tend to orbit Jane.  I really enjoyed how Clayton explored the relationship between Liv, Fletcher, and Jane.  It's a difficult dynamic and she doesn't shy away from it.

I loved all the historical detail in this book and it is rare that I feel that I learned anything new when reading historical fiction (I read quite a bit of it and I have a degree in History, so I go into these books with my feet already wet).  I had yet to read an account of this period of World War II from a journalistic point of view, so that was a nice change for me.

I do feel that I have to put this out there, though. This book is what I would consider "heavy" on the history--there are a lot of details and, even though Clayton expertly weaves them into the narrative, some readers might find this book to be bogged down by them all.  I would not necessarily call this a strike against the book, but I would take it into consideration when recommending it to someone.  I think you really need to be into the history to truly enjoy this book.

I had one gripe about this book--it wasn't especially major, but it was big enough that it did impact my enjoyment of the overall book.  As I said, the book is told in first person from Jane's point of view.  I have no problems with the first person point of view, but there are some pitfalls with it--and Clayton falls into one.  There are passages scattered throughout the book where Jane relates scenes she is not a part of and is able to tell what is going on inside someone else's head.  There are boundaries with any point of view, and probably more with the first person than any other, and Clayton sometimes steps over those boundaries.

This was an exciting and action-packed, yet not flawless, read.  I enjoyed my experience reading it and  I would recommend it to other fans of serious Historical Fiction.

About the Author:
Meg Waite Clayton is the New York Times bestselling author of four previous novels: The Four Ms. Bradwells; The Wednesday Sisters; The Language of Light, a finalist for the Bellwether Prize; and The Wednesday Daughters. She's written for the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the San Jose Mercury News, Forbes, Writer's Digest, Runner's World, and public radio. A graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, she lives in Palo Alto, California.

Find out more about Meg at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  I received no other compensation for this post.

Want to read more?  Visit some of the other stops on the book tour!  (Links go to the blog, not the specific review):

Monday, August 17th: Time 2 Read
Tuesday, August 18th: Kritters Ramblings
Wednesday, August 19th: BookNAround
Monday, August 24th: Thoughts on This ‘n That
Wednesday, August 26th: Man of La Book
Thursday, August 27th: Raven Haired Girl
Monday, August 31st: FictionZeal
Tuesday, September 1st: Becca Rowan
Wednesday, September 2nd: Doing Dewey
Thursday, September 3rd: Dwell in Possibility
Friday, September 4th: Savvy Verse & Wit
Thursday, September 10th: Literary Lindsey
Monday, September 14th: Diary of an Eccentric

TBD: 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews

The Race for Paris
by Meg Waite Clayton

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